Food Law News - UK - 2003

FSA Consultation Letter, 14 April 2003

COMPOSITIONAL STANDARDS - The Draft Honey (England) Regulations 2003

Council Directive 2001/110/EC relating to honey lays down European compositional standards that a product must comply with in order to be described as 'honey'; and provides additional labelling requirements for these products.

Consultation details

The Directive replaces the existing 1973 Honey Directive (74/409/EEC) and has been implemented in the UK as the Honey Regulations 1976 (SI No. 1832). Directive 2001/110/EC was adopted by MSs in December 2001 and must be implemented into national legislation by 1 August 2003. To this end, the Agency has produced the following attached documents in relation to UK implementation, on which comments are invited.

The Honey (England) Regulations 2003: This draft Statutory Instrument (SI) implements Council Directive 2001/110/EC, providing for its enforcement, creating offences and providing penalties in respect of non-compliance with the new requirements. The SI will apply in England only (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be making their own separate, but similar, legislation).

The draft SI prescribes definitions and reserved descriptions for certain specified honey products intended for human consumption and restricts the use of these descriptors to the products within its scope. The SI also lays down certain specific labelling or marking requirements in addition to those of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (FLR).

Provisions in the new SI are broadly in line with those of the 1976 Honey Regulations, which they replace. However, the new Regulations differ on the following points:

Guidance Notes

The FSA have prepared some guidance notes which set out and attempt to clarify the requirements of the new draft Regulations. They aim to provide practical advice for businesses and enforcement bodies, with the aim of achieving consistent application and enforcement of the new provisions. It is important to note that the guidance notes are non-statutory, providing advice on best practice and should be read in conjunction with the relevant legislation. They should not be taken as an authoritative statement or interpretation of the law as only the courts have this power.

Comments are required by 18 July 2003 at the latest.

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